“Who’s going to beat Ben, I’ll give $250 to the person who beats Ben today?” I smiled to myself since I knew the cavalier bet was not the lock he thought it was. I was flying a little under the radar having crashed the previous year and knew I was very capable of winning the race and beating last year’s TriZou champion and 2010 Jr. Elite National Champion, Ben Kanute. So when the race director issued that challenge right as we were jumping in the pool it was game on and time to get paid.
This was my fifth year at the race on Mizzou’s campus, third year in the elite wave. It has been a race that usually doesn’t have a real deep field but always had notable competition. Past winners include, Matt Charbot, Andrew Starykowicz, TJ Tollakson, and Ric Rosenkranz all of which went on to have notable pro careers. Two years ago I left with confidence, having just run the same split as Simon Lessing, and renewed goals to get my swimming and biking up to par. It puts it in perspective when you get lapped in a 400, which Ben has done to me until this year.
I exited the swim this year with an approximate 5:30 long course 400 swim time and "only" a minute down on Ben and in 6th place. Yep, do the math that guy is a talented swimmer. I pushed hard early on the bike knowing he is also a talented runner that won on a sprint finish the previous year and that I would need to be within sight, or better yet slightly ahead, by T2. The course is a hilly 2 lap course in
with a little wind this year that added to the difficulty. I made the pass around mile 11 and hit T2 with the slight lead and the race director “getting a little worried.” My time for the 14 mile bike was 36.32. Notice my new Zipp wheels that Mike at Bicycle X-Change rush shipped in time for the race and likely made the difference for the fastest bike split of the field and the overall win. Thanks Mike! Columbia